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EU, Iraq sign partnership, cooperation agreement

(Xinhua)

15:01, May 12, 2012

BRUSSELS, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) and Iraq signed the EU-Iraq partnership and cooperation agreement on Friday.

According to an EU statement, it's the first ever framework agreement between the EU and Iraq that establishes a comprehensive platform for enhancing ties and cooperation in a wide range of areas: from political matters such as countering terrorism and promoting human rights, to trade and investment in key areas such as energy and services.

Under the agreement, the EU and Iraq would set out regular political dialogue on bilateral, regional and global issues wherever both sides have a shared interest in working together.

"It will improve and clarify the trade arrangements between Iraq and the EU, to promote vital investment and to help integrate Iraq into the international economy," said the statement, "It also sets out a framework for continuing cooperation in many areas, from heath and education to environment and energy."

The agreement contains provisions in areas such as combating terrorism, countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and promoting human rights.

"This is the first ever such agreement between the EU and Iraq," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said following the signature of the agreement.

"This agreement is above all a symbol of the EU's wish to be a positive partner for Iraq in its democratic efforts," she added.

Since 2003, the EU has contributed more than 1 billion euro (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) toward the reconstruction of Iraq, with a focus on assisting the Iraqi people to access basic services, further democracy and promote good governance.

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